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tv   MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin  MSNBC  July 21, 2017 10:00am-11:00am PDT

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closed session. >> that is my understanding, as well. and we'll also be having jared kushner come in at the appropriate time. >> same type of conditions? >> may not be the same conditions. but, you know, these -- i think obviously are key witnesses, became all the more significant when that meeting was revealed with now the russian lawyer and the russian-american lobbyist and the other russian who had the background potentially in money laundering. so all of those we're going to want before our committee. >> and we are going to have to leave it there. thank you both. a bipartisan moment badly needed. thank you. and that does it for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." rock 'n roll news day. craig melvin is up next right here on msnbc. >> andrea, thank you. we'll pick it up from here. good afternoon to you. craig melvin, msnbc headquarters in new york. we continue with that breaking news out of the white house. you can see the live look there of the briefing room on the left
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side of your screen. a briefing set for 2:00. we're told that this is going to be one of the rare on-camera briefings these days. that briefing being conducted by the deputy press secretary. sara huckabee sanders, because sean spicer, officially out. he has resigned from this white house. again, that briefing set to happen at 2:00. this, of course, likely to be the headline in that briefing. we have got our reporters standing by. all of this coming on a day of major shakeups there at 1600 pennsylvania avenue. and for the president's private legal team, as well. stories about how the white house planning to push back on the independent counsel's investigation. all of it covered from various angles. let's start with our chief white house correspondent, hallie jackson, who is standing by for us inside that briefing room. hallie, bring us up to speed. reset for us all of our viewers and listeners joining us, 1:00 here on the east coast, how did we get here? >> if you're just joining us on this slow news friday, let's
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sort of take a breath of where we are now. >> let me set the scene. know it's the briefing room. you know behind me at this podium in about an hour, sara huckabee sanders will be coming out and delivering a briefing. the room is already filling up here. there has been a crush of reporters standing in the doorway. that is the doorway that leads upstairs to where the press shop is, the communications shop. typically, with our passes we can walk up and down. at this point they have kind of kept everybody down here, at least for the moment. that is the scene right now. in the building we believe -- or at least at some point today, anthony scaramucci, the person expected to be named the next communications director for this white house. potentially in this building -- potentially now former press secretary sean spicer, who was here today. we have not seen him leave at any of the stakeout positions we have around the white house. it is believed he is still here. also here, chief of staff reince priebus, seen talking with scaramucci upstairs. those are the main players, and obviously the president in the building, as well. here's how it's playing out.
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sean spicer leaving now. nbc news has confirmed, according to multiple sources, leaving his position as press secretary. concerned about the naming of scaramucci as essentially his boss. coms director, somebody he would be working extremely closely with in his position as press secretary. this all started to come to a head within about the last 18 hours or so. it is our reporting, craig, that president trump was getting increasingly frustrated with the lack of a named communications director. essentially saying to the coms team guys, you need some help here. taking it upon himself, and, again, based on our reporting, with the backing of ivanka trump, jared kushner, and i am told with wilbur ross, as well, to hire anthony scaramucci. the president and some of his staffers have talked about how they like that scaramucci is a fighter, always out on cable tv. he has done the shows, as you say. and has appeared to defend the himself. appeared on tv to do that. and to be kind of a fighter, in the words the president likes to use. kind of a killer when it comes to the media. he has relationships with these networks and with these media outlets, as well. sean spicer, clearly not happy
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with that. and neither was chief of staff, reince priebus. that is despite within the last couple minutes here, craig, giving some kind of statement to the associated press saying he is 100% behind anthony scaramucci. if that is the case, it is new. it was not the case earlier this morning when priebus was fighting against this quite vigorously. he took it to potentially the vice president's office to lean on the president not to hire scaramucci. this is a battle that priebus fought and lost. the question is now, what happens to him, having expended so much public political capital on this fight, and not succeeding, essentially. not being able to come out on top. we know that steve bannon was potentially involved in these discussions late, as well. apparently not involved from the very, very beginning. there has been discussions th that bannan was pushing back on this, too, seeing where the cards would fall, chips would fall, earlier on today.
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so that brings us up to this moment we are in right now. the president picking scaramucci, wanting this fighter. sean spicer, who from day one of this administration, has defended the president's claims on, for example, his inaugural crowd size. remember that? his first briefing? he has defended the president's claims on russia hacking, and russian interference in the election. he has defended the president when he talks about the congressional budget office. the list goes on and on. but apparently, this has been the final straw for spicer. we, again, have all of the doors that we can cover covered, craig, to see who is coming in and who is coming out. there is a lot of questions still ahead. will anybody else be leaving? will we see reince priebus today? will we get a statement from him, sort of publicly, sent to every member of the press? who will be named press secretary now? because there is an opening for that. as of about two hours ago. so just another friday. >> just another friday. hallie jackson for us there. our chief white house correspondent inside the briefing room, where, again, we expect to hear from the deputy
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press secretary in about 55 minutes. the first on-camera briefing in some 22 days. we'll come back to you in just a bit, hallie. we also have our team standing by for us here in new york, as well, katy tur. and steve kornacki, as well. let me come to you, because i know you've got a lot of sources inside this administration, a lot of folks you have been talking to. is it true that spicer last night was telling folks that he would walk if they hired scaramucci -- >> yeah, according to sources that i spoke to. spicer said last night, when he found out the news that scaramucci was going to be named communications director, that he had been offered the job, said, i will resign if that happens. my sources didn't believe him at the time. but ultimately, he went through with his word. he said he couldn't work with scaramucci, because scaramucci -- not that he had anything against him personally, but that he didn't know the job. he didn't know what was necessary to do that job. he didn't have the experience to do that job. he said it was a lot bigger than anthony scaramucci expected it
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to be. and he wanted someone with more qualifications. this was kept in a tight hold, this decision. i mean, scaramucci had an hour and a half meeting with ivanka and donald trump in the oval office yesterday. at that point, reince priebus didn't know this job was being offered to him. sean spicer didn't know at that point that this job was being offered to him. steve bannon did not know that this job was being offered to him. they found out because they were trying to -- well, they found out ultimately because this leaked to the press. and the president got a lot of pushback from reince priebus, a lot of pushback from steve bannon, saying this is not the guy for the job. there is bad blood between reince priebus and anthony scaramucci. but ultimately, the president called scaramucci yesterday at 5:30, yesterday at midnight, again at 5:30 this morning and said, i'm getting this pushback but hang in there. they had another meeting at 10:00 a.m. this morning, where he offered the job again. and scaramucci again officially
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accepted it. and that is when sean spicer resigned. >> hold that thought. i want to bring in peter baker, "new york times." peter baker on the phone with us. and peter, i know that you just interviewed president trump. did you get any sense during the course of that conversation that this was something that was imminent? >> no. it didn't come up. but maybe we should have taken a clue from the fact that sean spicer was not in the room for the interview. it's very unusual to have an interview with the president of the united states, at least under previous white houses, where you didn't have the press secretary in the room as part of that. i think that, in fact, sean spicer had -- we're told was unhappy about the interview. that he was left afterward scrambling to figure out what was said during it. but, you know, we all know that the president of the united states, in this case, president trump, feels like he's his own best communicator. his own best press secretary. his own spokesman. and i think that's going to be frustrating for anybody who takes this job here. mr. scaramucci's job or mr. spicer's job in the days ahead.
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how do you represent somebody who, you know, says what he says without sticking to the script, and can contradict what has been said from the podium by his spokesman, the very next day? it's a very challenging job, one that most of the, you know, top talent in the republican party would want to stay away from. >> peter, to be clear, sean spicer was never really the president's guy. i mean, spicer, by all accounts, he is priebus' guy. he and reince priebus have a history. a fairly lengthy history in republican circles. did you get the sense, or do you get the sense, that this was just a matter of time, that sean spicer probably wasn't very likely to ever been in the press secretary position for more than a few months or years? >> yeah, i think this is always the inevitable outcome. certainly seemed that way,
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anyway. the betting was, would he last a whole year or not. he lasted half a year, six months and one day. he had a bad start in terms of his relationship with the press when he comes out the day of inauguration on a saturday and skoel scolds them for their inaugural description of the inaugural crowd and didn't take questions. and it didn't get any better from there. these briefings now held off-camera have obviously upset particularly the television journalists. and more importantly, he didn't seem to really satisfy president trump. as you say, he was not a trump guy. he was part of the rnc, which had not been particularly supportive of president trump during his campaign last year at particular moments. and the president has recently, you know, expressed, you know -- he expressed in private sympathy for spicer in the kind of way you do for somebody you don't really respect. so, you know, he referred to spicer not being tough any more. and that's -- he had been beaten up by the press. these are not marks of respect
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on the part of this president. and so, you know, this is the inevitable outcome. >> peter, based -- i know your time is short here. last question. based on what we know about this president, if he had his druthers, if he could shape and mold this press office, this communications team in the way that he would like, what would it look like? >> that's a very good question. and it's hard to imagine. i think it would look like donald trump. i think it would look like -- if he could do it, if he had the time and made any sense to him, he would come out every day and do the briefing himself. i think he enjoys generally the interaction with the press. lately he's kind of avoided it, somewhat, even though he gave that interview the other day. he's been less, you know, over the last few months willing to give press conferences. but he is, again -- as i said, he is his own best spokesman. that's the way he views it. and very few of the people -- you know, think about this job. you have to, one, satisfy him that you are tough enough and brash enough and combative
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enough to suit his own personal style. and at the same time, not such a big figure that you challenge him because he doesn't like anybody else to sort of soak up the spotlight. it's a really thin, you know, hold there to try to thread. and i think it's going to be hard for anybody. >> and it's a job made even more difficult, because it's glaringly obvious from time to time when they do have those on-camera press briefings that he had not necessarily been armed with accurate information. scratch that. at times, it was obvious he hadn't been armed with information at all. >> yeah. >> on some of the most -- rudimentary topics. >> here's the telling thing. at certain points sean spicer started using phrases like "the president says this." when you're citing the president as a spokesman, it means you don't trust the information you have is going to be accurate and stay that way and you don't want it to come out of your own mouth. you want to attribute it to is it turns out later not to be
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case. you can say, well, that was what the president said, not what i said. so that was a clue not too long ago that there was, you know, a real gap growing between the president and his main spokesman. >> peter baker, "new york times." peter, i imagine you've got some work to do. so i'll let you get to it. thanks, my friend. >> thanks very much. msnbc contributor and republican strategist, steve schmidt, also standing by. he joins me on the phone. steve, you surprised at all? >> no, of course not. i think that it was the case from day one that sean spicer was going to have a fairly short tenure in the white house. and, you know, the truth of the matter is, a lot of people in washington would talk about his tenure and say, be surprised to see if he makes it six months and a day. and that's exactly -- that's exactly where it netted out. >> here's the thing, though, steve. i would imagine that sean spicer probably has a great deal of
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information, and press secretaries, at least, in recent years, a lot of them seemed to land jobs doing what we do. appearing on cable news shows, becoming contributors for networks. how important is it that sean spicer leave this white house on good terms? >> well, look. i think whether he does or he doesn't, you know, he's -- he's leaving. and i'm not sure that he can reveal much to the world that we don't already know. i mean, the white house doesn't have a communications problem. it has an erratic president with impulse control problems. there's no way to go and communicate from the podium some of the things this white house does and says in a way that is going to make it palatable to the american people. and, you know, look, the
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hallmark of the communication operation in this white house is really a serialized dishonesty. never in the history, the modern era of the white house, you have never had an administration, in all of its spokespeople, from the top on down, who go on tv like baghdad bob did during the iraq war. and simply make things up or fantastical stories that are untrue. you have never seen that in this country, and you don't see it in any of the healthy western democracies. and, you know, that's not going to change, no matter who is behind the podium. because everyone who stands behind that podium for this administration does it. >> for our viewers at home, just to set the scene here once again, left side of your screen, the white house briefing room here. 1:15 on the east coast. 45 minutes from now, we are expecting an on-camera -- an on-camera press briefing on this
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friday afternoon. the first on-camera press briefing in more than three weeks. steve schmidt, msnbc contributor on the phone with me now. steve, i know you're still very much plugged into republican surrender circles. how is this played out? is this something that traditional republicans are cheering? do they see this perhaps as an opportunity? or is this just more cause for concern? >> unless your head is filled with rocks, when you look at this white house, sean spicer is not the problem. if you look at it from a political message. sean spicer is not the reason that the president's approval numbers are at at 36%. sean spicer is not the reason, you know, that republicans will face danger in the midterm elections with regard to their house majority. and i think people look at sean spicer, and they say, this is
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someone who built up a reputation in washington for integrity over a long career. someone who is a naval reserve officer, and people watched it smash within six months and a day of going to work for donald trump. and so when the administration goes out and tries to recruit people for these types of jobs, it's going to have to look very, very hard for anybody willing to say yes to it, when you look at humiliations that spicer faced. whether it was the snub, his ability to meet the pope in the vatican. kind of the deliberate cruelty he faced from the president during his term. you know, if you look at sean spicer, you see all of the qualities that, you know, people are so concerned about and the president with regard to what he made sean spicer go out there and try to communicate. and with regard to the things he did from a cruelty perspective to spicer. >> steve schmidt.
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thank you for your perspective and insight, as always, sir. >> take care. >> "washington post" white house reporter, david in that canakam standing by. sean spicer became very much a household name and a short period of time, became a bit of a celebrity. perhaps for all of the wrong reasons. i want to play for folks just a few of his greatest hits. >> this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period! both in person and around the globe. even general flynn was a volunteer of the campaign. and then obviously there's been discussion of paul manafort, who played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time. but you had a -- you know, someone who is as despicable as hitler who didn't even sink to using chemical weapons. he brought them into the holocaust center. i understand that. obviously, i was really trying to make sure that we talked
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about the assad's actions and some people using chemical weapons to draw any kind of comparison to the holocaust was inappropriate. there was nothing, as far as we know, that would lead anyone to believe that there was anything, except for a discussion about adoption in the magnitsky act. >> david nakamura, a short tenure, but quite the rocky tenure. and you actually forget how rocky it's been until you start to string together the greatest hits there. why resign now, david? is this just about scaramucci? >> reporter: i don't think it's just about scaramucci. y you made the point, he's become a household name, probably more than any other press secretary, recent press secretary. and that's probably a problem. you know, for the same reason i think peter baker talked about, which is that you can't get, you know, bigger than the president himself. he doesn't like that. and he tends to cut people's legs out when he sees that tend to happen. it's also, you know -- may well increase your q rating if you're a parody on "saturday night live," but probably not your job
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security. we heard early on the president was pleased by the great ratings that sean spicer's briefings had in the first couple of months. and then -- that he also sort of grew to appreciate, at the beginning, at least, spicer coming in and acting as sort of a bulldog. over time, we have seen this white house press operation really start to get neutered and they have seemed to lose confidence as peter baker talked about earlier. what they said publicly would be contradicted by their own boss, the president, within minutes, hours, on twitter. we saw even in the interview that peter talked about, sean spicer was supposedly not aware of the interview just the other day in which the president went against, you know, the advice of his lawyers and talked about this ongoing russia probe. so, you know, someone i talked to said, look, these press abbreviati briefings didn't start out as a favor to the press. they're because the white house wanted to own the message of the day and get out and tell their stories. a communications director, you talk about anthony scaramucci, to set a tone and set a strategy. the story is always one thing
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with this white house, which is chaos and ongoing russia investigation. and so as someone once told me, presidents think they have a communications problem when they really have a political problem. and that's the problem with the white house. so this kind of change is not necessarily going to fix anything. >> katy tur, you've got to get out of here and prep for your own show that starts in about 40 minutes, but i wanted to come back to you quickly. news of the shuffle inside the president's legal team, spicer now out. do you get the sense that this is, perhaps, the beginning of some sort of larger reshuffle inside the white house? >> potentially. i mean, we're going to have to see. we're hearing that reince priebus says he's not going anywhere. there was -- or that -- excuse me, that he supports anthony scaramucci. we're going to find out who ends up staying and who ends up going. this has been a really tumultuous white house. there is a lot of factions all vying for influence and control. you've got the ban none faction, the reince priebus faction, which sean spicer was at the top of until today. and then you've got the kids. and who is the one that's going
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to win out ultimately? i mean, and then there are questions of whether or not jared kushner is going to keep his advisory role. after all, he is the focus right now of a lot of these russia questions. what role did he play? why was he in the don junior meeting? why has his disclosure form changed so many times? was there serious pushback within the white house about him maintaining that role? and is bringing anthony scaramucci on, does that have something to do with it? since scaramucci is close with the kids? and he is a backer of the kids? i think that there is a lot of questions unanswered. it does seem a bit odd this would be suddenly the reason that sean spicer resigns today. that it's just anthony scaramucci, even though he's coming on as another white house communications director. i guess technically sean spicer would be under him. but i think there's a lot of -- there's just a lot unknown about what is happening, and who exactly has the influence. because there's a lot of people
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whispering to a lot of reporters to try and get their agenda across. ultimately, though, as everyone says, donald trump is the one who is making his own decisions, creating his own problems. and everybody is scrambling to try and find a way to get an in or try to rein him in. >> katy turry, s, see you back in about 45 minutes. >> cannot wait. >> the white house press briefing about to start. steve kornacki, msnbc political correspondent, always good to have you, sir. first of all, just your general take on the news of the day. this news that sean spicer, after just six, almost seven months, is out. >> yeah, six months and a couple days there. put this in some historical perspective, it's the third-shortest tenure for any modern white house press secretary. the tail end of the clinton administration, you had his press secretary leave for the final few months. somebody else came in for that. the only other one that was shorter was when gerald ford took over for richard nixon
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after nixon's resignation. ford put in press secretary a month later, pardoned richard nixon. the press secretary resigned in protest. that was 31 days. this one clocks in at 182. so it is very short. historically short. on the other hand, as everyone has been saying on the air this hour, not terribly surprising, just given the trajectory of the last six months, and raises the obvious question of, sure, you look at anthony scaramucci. he's somebody who when you have watched him in these television appearances, is sort of making the case for donald trump. he certainly struck me as somebody who maybe in those settings is a little bit more glib, a little bit more polished than sean spicer might be. that he might be a little bit better in those terms in that room. but the fundamental issue here is, this is a president who it's sort of impossible to speak for. you have a president who at 6:00 in the morning, 7:00 in the morning, on any given day, sees something on a cable news show he doesn't like or he likes, or that distracts him or that puts him in a certain mood, and he tweets it ought for all of the
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world to see in blunt and sometimes crude language that we have never seen a president speak in public in before. and then the duty falls on the press secretary six or seven hours later to try to translate that into some sort of acceptable, political language. that's an impossible task, no matter how glib or how smooth you are. and i think if you look back at the history, not just of this presidency in the first six months, but the entire trump campaign, think about that. his campaign, his presidency. has anybody ever emerged who you would look at and say, well, if i can't get an interview with donald trump, this person speaks well on behalf of donald trump, and i get a very good and clear sense of what trump is trying to accomplish. or what trump meant by that. nobody has ever emerged to fill that role. i don't think it's because everybody just happens to be totally incompetent and communicating. i think it's because it is an impossible task. and, no, i don't expect anything to change either. >> your last point is a salient point. and in the last seven months, there isn't one person -- if you look at it objectively, you would say, okay, he or she, yes,
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they are able to channel the trump voice consistently and accurately. i want to bring in chris jansing, who is also standing by for us there in washington. and chris, steve kornacki just talked about the mood at 1600 pennsylvania avenue. what more do we know about the mood inside this white house? >> reporter: well, it's been unsettled for some time. and i think the signals were coming from the president himself. you heard from -- i think it was peter baker. i know we also talked to michael schmidt, two of the people who were inside that room for that blockbuster "new york times" interview. one signal, sean spicer was not in that room. that is highly unusual. and even though you talk about a white house that is highly unusual, it also speaks to how this president wants to control the communications on his own. remember, it wasn't so long ago, craig, when the whole don junior meeting with the russian lawyer, and now we know many other people broke. and there were all these multiple reports about jared
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kushner and others close to the president who were not happy about the way the communications team were defending the president, defending john junior. they thought that they weren't being aggressive enough. on the other hand, you had a communications team that felt it was going out there every single day, and saying what the president needed them to say. on the other hand, there have been other signals. again, that have left some people unsettled, who have come over here, along with reince priebus and sean spicer, who worked with them at the rnc, or knew them over the years from the time they were in the rnc. when they saw that suddenly you didn't see sean spicer briefing for week after week after week. you saw sara huckabee sanders. and the fact that they would say to you, well, you know, he's taking over, really doing two jobs, so he can't do them both. there weren't very many people who really bought that explanation. >> no one bought it. >> reporter: nobody bought that
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explanation. and i do think also you had a situation where -- and i think, again, i think it was michael who brought this up. people were stunned. and when i say people, i mean not just people within the press shop, but people within the press, who have obviously sparred heartily with sean spicer who would say to you privately they felt terrible for him. a devout catholic. when they met the pope, he was deliberately left out of the group of people that got to meet pope francis. so there were all these signals along the way. i also think it's worth noting, the discomfort that i think is going to follow this. because for reince priebus and sean spicer and anybody over the course of the last many years, and i worked with both of them over the course of this last campaign, how close they were. how there was this sort of
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synergy. they were in sync with their messaging. and many times when they would meet with the press, they would both be in there. you're meeting with reince priebus and sean spicer would come in and out. these are two men who came into this together as a team. clearly, they're not leaving this together. so i think a big sense of unsettledness for sure. a big sense of tension. and you have to add to that, of course, the spokesman for the legal team who quit earlier, you have a shuffling of the legal team. all of this in one way or another related to the russia investigation, and the frustration, craig, that the president feels that he is being treated unfairly. that this is a hoax. and that he needs people behind him who he thinks are going to be more vehement in their support of him. >> all right. what -- one thing that might be telling here in terms of how sean spicer is leaving this white house, and if the control room can pull it up here, we'll pull it up on the screen. this is sean spicer's twitter
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bio. this is his bio on twitter that was apparently updated a very short period -- short time ago. this is his bio card. his actual twitter bio, if we can pull that up. i'll bring in "washington post" opinion writer, dana milbank, right now. dana, i know you have been writing about having a first-hand seat to the chaos in that briefing room. you've talked about it a fair amount on our air. in light of that, are you at all surprised by mr. spicer's sudden resignation? >> no, craig. i don't think anybody can be surprised by this. i think the real surprise is that he would have done this in the first place. i've known sean for many years. he was not a trump guy. reince priebus was not a trump guy. mike pence was not a trump guy. they all basically made a calculation that they could sign on with him and tame him in some way. and bring him to heal. well, they are all finding out that it's just not going to happen. that you can't tame this beast.
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so i think it was just inevitable that it would come to this with sean spicer. nobody would have predicted that it would be over scaramucci. and in this particular thing, there could have been any number of slides and humiliations to sean that could have prompted it earlier. the problem is, it's going to happen to whoever succeeds him, because trump has chewed up all of these people around him. he's in the process of chewing up perhaps his most loyal man, jeff sessions. >> dana, in terms of what sean spicer might do next, what he could do next. what do you surmise? >> well, he was in a stronger position before all of these humiliations. it depends. does he want to kiss and tell? is there anything he knows about the white house that the rest of us don't already know, and haven't already seen unfold on television and in the newspapers? the problem is, often these guys go on to lucrative corporate careers, in a sense sean spicer is damaged goods. who is going to want him speaking for their brand after
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this wretched experience? but there may always be some space in the media for him, depending on how free he's willing to be. >> all right. dana milbank, always good to see you, sir. thank you. >> thanks, craig. former republican congressman, david jolly, also joins me. david, you're going to hear even supporters of the president say that spicer and others in the white house aren't the problem. it's this president. what's your opinion on that? does this change anything for the white house? >> oh, it does. i think it's a clear indication the president is moving and retooling to play offense on all things russia and mueller. we know that. listen, spicer, priebus, the rnc crowd they brought in, priebus' former deputy chief of staff that already left, they were the establishment wing that was never quite comfortable in a trump administration, and trump was never comfortable with them. look, it's a universal truth that spicer had an impossible job. but for this president, spicer didn't do a good job at trying to represent the president. he always had that very
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uncomfortable look that every establishment gopper has when they're trying to defend this president. many of whom republicans don't recognize. >> all right. david, stand by for me if you can. i want to bring in justice dependent spokesman, matt miller, now. matt, how does the timing of spicer's resignation strike you? >> obviously, you can't ignore it came in a week where really the white house in a lot of ways looks like it's in meltdown. as chris jansing mentioned earlier, wednesday the president attacked his ag, deputy ag, threatened to fire the special counsel. yesterday his top outside lawyer was sidelined and outside legal spokesperson quit. and today the white house press secretary quits. i think, though, the one thing that, you know, from the angle of the investigation, and there are obviously a lot of angles to this story, one of the top rules that people usually follow when they're under criminal investigation is you keep those people who are your top
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associates, your top allies, you keep them close, and you keep them loyal. you don't want to give anyone a reason to start cooperating with investigators and to turn against you. and if spicer really did quit in anger, and if he's feeling angry and vengeful, he's someone who could be extremely useful to investigators. and he doesn't even have to know actual facts of criminality. he just has to be someone who can give investigators a road map of who is influential on what decisions. what people are allied. what people are involved in russia matters. so it is an unusual thing to, you know, provoke a top ally of yours into quitting and to being angry when you're under the type of investigation that the president is under. >> matt, stand by for me, if you can, as well. i want to bring in tim carney. tim is a commentary editor for the washington examiner. and tim, you claim that this is a good move from spicer's
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perspective. why? >> well, i think he is liberated. that's where my colleague at the examiner used in a blog post this afternoon. i think it's often a debasing thing to work for donald trump. chris christie experienced that. just this week, jeff sessions experienced it. steve kornacki was listing off some examples. you can list off others. you go out and say something in the afternoon, and then donald trump tweets the opposite the next morning. you have to defend his vulgarity. i think with spicer, the most telling incident, was on day one when he goes out to make this made-up argument about the size of the crowd at the inauguration. why did he do that? he called it the press conferency thing just to do it? it seemed to me almost as if trump said you have to go out there and fight for the most absurd idea to show your loyalty to trump. i think it was a debasing situation, and the sooner he can get out the better it is for him. >> i've referenced the twitter update a short time ago. i actually saw that, i think, in
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your piece. is it clear whether he's already updated that, or do we know if that's something that was done a short time ago? >> yeah, no. i mean, he just changed his twitter bio to remove all references to the white house. he talks about his former roles at the rnc, and not his former role in the white house. so he's clearly not sort of whistleful whistle wistfully parting goodbye. the story not getting to meet the holy father in exchange for other people. when we knew his sort of -- his love of that office. and all of these situations. i can't blame him for feeling slighted. and i just wonder how many other people are going to want to put themselves in trump's orbit to get treated like sean spicer, like jeff sessions, like chris christie, like all these other people who got close to donald trump, and then were burned for it. >> hue hewitt is also standing
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by. hugh hewitt, a colleague now, as well. in addition to, of course, host of the wildly popular radio show on the salem radio network that bears his name. hugh, i'll start with you the same way i started with our other guests. remotely surprised? >> no. i think sean had a very difficult hand dealt to him from the beginning. i have to correct one thing steve kornacki said. first time i've ever heard steve be off. sean lasted longer than george stephanopoulos did. who, in fact, sean lasted 47 days longer than george stephanopoulos. and that happens when a new administration with a bunch of people who don't know how washington works lands in town. and usually the press secretary is the guy who crashes and burns as he tries to pick up for everyone. it is good reporting, i think, from the "new york times," that sean was offered a job, as george stephanopoulos was, in the west wing by president trump, and chose not to take it, fearing being in the position of number two to mr. scaramucci.
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now, anthony scaramucci is a very smart guy. harvard law school, trained, made a lot of money on wall street, charismatic on television. but i think sean believes, and he's a friend of mine, so discount for lie of the green, this job requires a great deal more knowledge of how washington, d.c., operates than mr. scaramucci has. so we'll see. but i do believe -- very much reject what dana milbank had to say. >> big surprise there. >> yeah, big shocker. >> you think he'll be on a cable channel in a week? >> yeah, i do. not only has he done a very good job -- a fine job at the rnc, but he knows everyone in washington, d.c., and has the most important thing, which is a score card and phone numbers next to it. and the president will talk to him. the chief of staff will talk to him. the special assistants to the president will talk to him. the cabinet members will talk to him. so as a reporter, i think he's going to be fine. and i do believe -- he just did not want to be number two to an individual who may find the job is more challenging, and very different from manhattan.
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>> really, hugh? i mean, you really think that the scaramucci hiring is the straw that breaks the camel's back here? we played some clips earlier. all of the things that he said that turned out not to be true. all of the situations in which he was placed, uncomfortable situations, because he clearly wasn't armed with accurate information or information at all. you think this was really the thing that did it? >> yes. 100%. i will point out, every press secretary has to live with a lot of heat. sean had to live with "saturday night live" and melissa mccarthy and stephen colbert and everyone else, in a way that was more difficult than previous press secretaries. nonetheless, a loyal guy, lieutenant guy, salutes, carries it out. i don't think he wants to take a mission in which he's not flying that particular plane. and i also know -- it's good reporting from glen thrush, the president wanted him to stay and he did not want to stay.
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so i think reince priebus is right. he's going to be 100% behind the president in what he chooses to do. the chief of staff has to be that way. but sean spicer will be fine. he'll absolutely be fine. >> i love it when a guest gives me a great segue to another guest. glen thrush broke this story, also standing by. glen, what more can you tell us? can you bring us up to speed on precisely how it is that we got here? >> reporter: well, i think the events of the last 36 hours really precipitated this. i mean, my reporting seems to indicate that this shakeup really is kind of back to the drawing board from the way -- from some of the other unresolved conflicts that existed during the transition. jared kushner, wilber ross, and ivanka, were -- are very big supporters of scaramucci. scaramucci, as we recall in january, was turned down for a job in the office of public engagement in the white house, largely because reince priebus
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turned him down. and their dissatisfaction with spicer and priebus really led to this. and i think they also have been -- were dissatisfied with mark kasowitz, and were whispering in the president's ear about making a change there. so i think we are definitely dealing with sort of a reassertion of the jared and ivanka wing in the white house. but, you know, one of the things that i think we really need to start focusing on, as we move forward from sean, is this question of reince priebus. he was the one who, along with paul ryan, convinced the president to move on health care first. the president blamed him after the first vote in the house failed -- not the first vote, but the first push in the house failed. he blamed priebus for the entire debacle, and he was unhappy with the chief of staff throughout the senate negotiations. in fact, mitch mcconnell, the senate majority leader, really didn't even want to deal with priebus. so he is very much on the hot seat. we have seen the departure of
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one of priebus' top lieutenants, katie walsh, a couple of months ago. i think the writing is very much on the wall. priebus was already, you know -- i would say, having covered a bunch of white houses, probably the weakest chief of staff in recent history. and i think this weakens him exponentially. >> glen thrush, stand by. you have mentioned reince priebus. peter alexander, nbc national correspondent, standing by for us at the white house. peter, i understand you've got some new reporting on the chief of staff. what can you tell us? >> reporter: yeah, craig, a lot of this would be to echo what you heard from glen thrush a moment ago. we are hearing from reince priebus since the abrupt resignation of his close ally and friend here in this white house until today, sean spicer. priebus telling me through a white house spokesperson that he is 100% behind anthony scaramucci. according to this individual, priebus says that it's all good here, in his words. he says this source on behalf of
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reince priebus says, he was not trying to block scaramucci's hiring. he was just trying to slow down the process. a reference to concerns about potential ethics conflicts for scaramucci. be clear. all of these public statements in support of scaramucci very much go against all of the reporting that we have privately behind the scenes with officials here over the white house, over the past not just weeks, but months. this official on behalf of priebus saying that the two men have a long-standing and strong relationship, noting the fact that priebus was even offered a top job at sky bridge capital. the firm run by anthony scaramucci several years back. i believe in 2012. one other note that's worth noting right now, it appears we are going to hear from sean spicer for the first time. he's going to break his silence, as i understand it. now confirming with fox news, with sean hannity this evening. that's been a familiar platform for spicer, a place he's often gone to sort of seek refuge on some of the more challenging days during the course of his combative short career here as
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press secretary. unclear whether it's going to be taped, but it's happening with sean hannity later this evening. >> peter alexander, standing by for us there at the white house. where, again, roughly 15 minutes from now, an on-camera press briefing set. sara huckabee sanders will likely get a few questions. stephanie ruhle is standing by, msnbc host, business correspondent. this idea that reince priebus, the chief of staff, and the new communications director, anthony scaramucci, are besties. >> that idea, my friend, craig melvin, is a lie. reince priebus and anthony scaramucci are no friends. anthony scaramucci, who had been up to glen's point for a white house position, it was reince who blocked him. there are these e-mails that had been leaked about anthony selling sky bridge to the chinese and then the office of government ethics got involved. reince didn't want him in there. >> one second, stand by. peter alexander, you've got
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something from sean spicer? >> reporter: fox news may be his first public conversation. he has just tweeted for the first time since the news of his abrupt resignation, news that hasn't been confirmed yet by the white house. he writes on the press secretary twitter page, it's been an honor and privilege to serve the potus and donald trump at this amazing country. i will continue my service through august. so notably, that means he's going to be here, working in this white house for at least the next five weeks, as it would be, which is sort of a remarkable revelation, given what we have just learned here, if that's to be true, that he is still in the building for that course of time, giving all the clashing that is taking place here. sean spicer saying what an honor it's been to work here and now acknowledging he's going to stick around. so you can imagine the challenge that's going to pose, as anthony scaramucci arrives for his new job, and sean spicer is in effect supposed to be his partner. remember, sean spicer, until
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today, in effect, working as both press secretary and communications director. the man taking over as communications director basically filling the void that donald trump was not satisfied with. is now going to be working by his side for the course of the next several weeks if this is to be believed. >> if this is to be believed. peter, thank you. >> no one will be able to coexist. anthony scaramucci is a true, slick operator. he was part of the trump transition team and at the sky bridge conference two months ago, had joe biden as one of his keynote speakers. anthony scaramucci, a true wall street marketing sales guy. any complaints you heard from the white house about the president not liking sean spicer's ill-fitting suits or clumsy responses, clumsy anthony scaramucci isn't. and steve bannon said to scaramucci's face, you will get this job over my dead body. i don't see any cadavers coming out of the building. >> so this is clearly trump's way to also send the message, i suppose, to steve bannon and priebus. >> and the gop.
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next week paul manafort and donald trump jr. have been asked to testify in an open hearing. this is republicans saying we want to know what's going on in russia. and anthony scaramucci, unlike others, has been willing to defend the president, even at sticky times. when things get sticky, you don't really hear from rex tillerson. anthony scaramucci is part of a wing that accepts and honors the trump family gets treated differently. and so they like that. >> do i still have glen thrush as well, guys? still there with me? hey, glen, the white house hasn't had an on-camera briefing in 22 days. any reason to believe that scaramucci coming on board is going to change that or perhaps might change the relationship this administration has with reporters, with journalists? >> well, look, part of my reporting has been that one of the reasons why we have had the off-camera briefing, sean doesn't want to hear trump yell at him. you know, we have sort of assumed this is a larger, stiff
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arm to the press. this is part of a pattern of trump's contempt for us and pushing us aside. in fact, what i've heard over the last couple of weeks is most of the reasons why this has been off-air is because sean doesn't take quite -- sean and sara don't take quite as much guff from the president if he can't see them on tv. it's as simple as that. isn't it interesting that on the day spicer decides to go, all of a sudden we have the briefings back on air. my suspicion is, the president wants to see more of a feisty defense. what he told reporters on air force one a couple of weeks ago was that you guys have beaten sean down. sean used to be a tough guy. he's not tough enough. scaramucci isn't likely, necessarily, to brief from the podium, we're hearing, but i wouldn't necessarily assume that sara huckabee sanders is going to be the only one there, too. the person who the president is most high on these days, sebastian gorka. his foreign policy -- i don't
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know exactly what seb gorka does -- >> he's on tv a lot. >> and will be a lot more. >> anthony scaramucci is a former tv host, a contributor on cnbc, had wall street week on fox. he loves the stage, loves the podium. he is no stranger to wanting to have media attention. and, again, that awkward clumsiness, the mooch, he's got it. >> the mooch. that's going to be his official nickname. >> it is. that's what he's known as, "the mooch." >> the funny thing about it, that nickname, as stephanie was saying, really doesn't fit the guy. but here's the one thing that i would say. scaramucci is a very clever operator. and he's very, very good working from the outside in. it is a lot different when you get up there on the podium and the president tells you to go out and show photographs of your crowd size compared to barack obama's. when you take that job, you take the scrutiny. and i think scaramucci isn't going to be immune from the president's attacks internally, either. >> he is in a position where he
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could have his credibility hijacked, like so many others. and anthony is a really successful guy. the company he runs, sky bridge, companies like that have been blowing up since funds. you give him money and he invests it. after '08, people were like i don't need to do that, but he has been doing it. >> why would he take a job like this? >> power power power. if you're an adrenaline addict, you've made a lot of money, where else do you get the adrenaline. he sold his company because he thought he would be working with the administration. unless he has a position in the administration for a year he won't get that tax treatment. he just needs a job. >> i always learn about money when i have stephanie in the room. >> larry o'connell standing by as well. you have known sean spicer as i understand it for some time.
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how do you think he is taking this? >> i think i agree with my much older colleague, hugh hewitt here. he was carrying the communications director job and now press secretary. now comes a communications director that he has to answer to and he has to deal with the one part of the job that he probably hated which was the press briefings. i think she leavi he is leaving terms. sean spice ser is a true patrio he loves his country, and he believes he has been doing his duty for the president and for the country. >> for those of us that have known sean for a couple years now, and dana eluded to this earlier, people were surprised that he took the job, that was a bit of an under statement. were you surprised as well? >> i was, i was a little surprised and i thought about it
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for a minute, and to understand, you have to understand his relationship with reince priebus. they work so well together all of the way back before the -- in the rnc from 2011 on. they were great in the romney campaign. they understood each other so well it was baked in the cake that sean would take this job as well. that makes sense. they have great admiration and respect for each other, and you have to wonder what the future is for reince priebus without having his partner there. >> hugh, how much older are you than larry. >> i did train him, but i take no credit for his satire today.
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i know sean very well. larry does, everyone who knows him, likes him and respects hip especially for his patriotism. the best press secretary i have seen in the modern era is the late tony snow. he had good humor with an often pushy white house press corps. sean may not, because of the way the administration got off on such a rocky start, he may not have been able to develop that reservoir of good humor to deal back and forth, but that is not why he left. he didn't want to work with anthony skar mu whichcaramucci. sean was number one. >> and we're forgetting the focus.
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it is not the republican agenda, it's the trump russia scandals. if we're talking about patriots at a time when a president could look to pardon his family members, it could be difficult for long-time g.o.p. members to stand next to. >> hugh, do you think that sean spicer was out of his depth from the beginning? >> no, i worked with him through four presidential debates and was briefed by him on a variety of issues. i do believe that the velocity of this white house, no one was prepared for it. i don't know if anyone is still standing is prepared for it, but something that stephanie just said, i believe that pardons are not on the table. you might bring up another press secretary from times past, pardons have a way of taking on times past. i don't credit that report greatly. that is so far beyond the realm
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of what i think is possible right now. it would be a i ddisaster for anyone -- anyone in the briefing room? peter alexander is outside of the briefing room. five minutes from now we are getting an on camera briefing from sarah huckabee sanders. peter, besides the obviously questions about sean spicer and what lead to this, and the palace intrigue, what else might we expect from sarah huckabee sanders in a few minutes. >> the fact that sean spice sere not in the room will drive this day, but hours earlier there was all sorts of headlines, a flood of new headlines as there were reports in effect that the legal team was trying to under mine the credibility of robert mueller, the special council's investigation. the president's interest in
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looking into pardoning. perhaps members of his family and even himself if necessary. those are question that's they will forced to respond to today. the white house received document preservation requests. that would be routine, but it is still significant as it would relate to all document that's relate to that june 26th meeting that took place at trump tower. i mean we have a lot to talk about with sean spicer, but even more his resignation, all of the headlines as you have been talking about with a big week ahead on the topic of russia, jared kushner to be interviewed, by staff and the senate intelligence committee. and aside from the spicer news, that will obviously be what drives this, as people try to get a better understanding about the decision making process, i think those are some of the
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other headlines that will stick with this white house, that anthony when he arrives here will be combatting for weeks and months o months ahead. >> is sean spicer leaving the white house on good terms? >> you know what was striking to me is the fact that he said he is sticking around through august to help make it a smooth transition, as it is described to us. as we understand it, there was a meeting with several dozen white house officials in spicer's office earlier today. i was right outside of his office as this meeting was going on before we were ushered out of that era where the press briefing us. i was able to peer in briefly, i saw reince priebus, i saw sean spicer, and spicer, scaramucci were all there together trying to put a happy faes on this moment, trying to best serve the president, but be clear, he
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faces a real challenge and it's not just the white house's credibility, but his own credibility because of lot of people like myself now what a big asset he has been. how well sourced he is throughout the republican community, and how well liked he has been for years. the way that america has come to see him, his combative nature, the snl skits with melissa mccarthy have all done a lot to sort of damage the reputation i think, publicly of sean spicer. even if he said he is leaving, and if he said it was an honor to serve the president, it is obvious his short stint here has changed his professional experience. >> peter, thank you, a live look inside of the briefing room where that sarah huckabee sanders on camera briefing is set to happen at any moment now. of course spicer is leaving the white house as press secretary and communications director as peter indicated that will be
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driving the conversation. but there is lots of other things to get to as well. katie turr will pick things up right now. >> thank you, craig, he will stay on until august, that is what we know so far. it is almost 2:00 p.m. eastern. let's get to the breaking news from the white house, we're waiting for an on-camera briefing, the first on the record reaction from the white house on the resignation of press secretary sean spicer. also the first on camera briefing since june 29th. spicer quit when president trump decided to hire anthony scaramucci. according to my sources, spicer was telling people last night he would resfien skaign if scaramu hired. he was urged to work with him,
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sean spicer said he could not. he did tweet a couple minutes ago it has been an honor and privilege to serve the president and this amazing country. i will continue my service through august. two people unhappy with the choice of scaramucci were reince priebus and steve bannon. we're watching that podium there at the white house where the reporters are lined up. while we wait, let's debrief with our reporters an analysts. kristen welker is at the white house. set the scene for us, what is happening in the white house right this moment? >> well, it is certainly been a frantic morning, cakatie as allf this unfolded. our reporters were waiting outside of the press office waiting to get clarification on


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